You can connect to a wireless network in more than one way, and in this guide, we’ll show you four methods to complete this task on Windows 10.

If you use a laptop, tablet, or even a desktop computer, it likely has a Wi-Fi connection, as it’s the most convenient medium to access a network and the internet without messing around with cables.

However, it’s only convenient as long as you know the steps to connect. If you’re using Windows 10, there are multiple ways quickly connect to the internet using a Wi-Fi connection, whether you’re setting up a device for the first time, connecting in a new place, or if you’re simply looking for an efficient way to connect multiple devices to the same network.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through the steps to connect to a Wi-Fi network using the network flyout in Taskbar, Settings, Control Panel, and using command lines with Command Prompt.

How to connect to Wi-Fi network using Taskbar

To connect to a Wi-Fi network using the network flyout in taskbar, use these steps:

  1. Click on the Network icon in the bottom-right corner of the taskbar. (If you don’t see the button, click the up arrow button on the left.)

    Note: Alternatively, you can open Action Center (Windows key + A), and then click the Network button in the Quick actions section to access the network flyout.

  2. Select the wireless network you want to connect.
  3. (Optional) Check the Connect automatically option.
  4. Click the Connect button.

    Quick tip: If you don’t see any network listed, click the Wi-Fi button to turn on the adapter from the flyout.

  5. Confirm the network security key (password).

  6. Click the Next button.

Once you complete the steps, the device will connect to the network using the wireless connection.

Reconnect automatically

Windows 10 also offers an option to re-enable and reconnect the device automatically after disconnecting the adapter manually.

To schedule automatic reconnect to Wi-Fi networks, use these steps:

  1. Click on the network icon in the bottom-right corner of the taskbar.
  2. Click the Wi-Fi button to turn off wireless connectivity.

  3. Use the drop-down menu and select when to re-enable and re-connect:

    • Manually.
    • In one hour.
    • In four hours.
    • In one day.

After you complete the steps, Windows 10 won’t try to re-establish a wireless connection until the schedule you specified.

When you use this feature, the computer will only auto-connect to those networks that you’ve previously configured to connect automatically.

How to connect to Wi-Fi network using Settings

On Windows 10, you can also use the “Network & Security” settings page to pre-configure Wi-Fi connections manually, and then when the network is in range, it’ll connect automatically.

To set up a Wi-Fi connection with the Settings app, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Network & Security.
  3. Click on Wi-Fi.
  4. Click the Manage known networks option.

  5. Click the Add a new network button.

  6. Confirm the name of the new network.
  7. Use the drop-down menu to select the Security type. (Usually, the security type is WPA2-Personal AES.)
  8. Confirm the network security key (password) as necessary.
  9. Check the Connect automatically option.
  10. Check the Connect even if this network is not broadcasting option (optional).
  11. Click the Save button.

After you complete the steps, the computer will connect automatically to the Wi-Fi network you specified when it’s range.

How to connect to Wi-Fi network using Control Panel

To connect to a wireless network with Control Panel, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on Network and Internet.
  3. Click on Network and Sharing Center.
  4. Under the “Set up a new connection or network” section, click the Set up a new connection or network option.

  5. Select the Manually connect to a wireless network option.

  6. Click the Next button.
  7. Confirm the network SSID name.
  8. Use the drop-down menu to select the Security type. (Usually, the security type is WPA2-Personal.)
  9. Confirm the network security key (password).
  10. Check the Start this connection automatically option.
  11. (Optional) Check the Connect even if the network is not broadcasting option.

  12. Click the Next button.
  13. Click the Close button.

Once you complete the steps, the device will automatically connect to the Wi-Fi network.

How to connect to Wi-Fi network using Command Prompt

Alternatively, you can connect to a Wi-Fi network using the netsh command-line tool using Command Prompt.

To connect to a wireless access point with command lines, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to view the available network profiles and press Enter:

    netsh wlan show profile

  4. Confirm the wireless network profile with the settings you want to use.
  5. Type the following command to connect to the Wi-Fi network and press Enter:

    netsh wlan connect ssid=YOUR_WIFI_SSID name=PROFILE_NAME

    In the command, remember to specify the SSID of the network and profile name with the network settings you’re trying to connect.

    For example, this command connects to the tsunami network using the tsunami profile:

    netsh wlan connect ssid=tsunami name=tsunami

    Quick Tip: If you have more than one wireless adapter, you must also specify in the command which adapter you want to use. Here’s an example of the command: netsh wlan connect ssid=YOUR_WIFI_SSID name=PROFILE_NAME interface=Wi-Fi.

After you complete the steps, the device will connect to the wireless network.

New network connection

On Windows 10, you can use the netsh command tool to manage wireless adapters and networks. However, it only allows connections to previously known networks, because you must specify a network profile, which you can’t create with the tool.

If you must use Command Prompt to connect one or multiple devices to the same Wi-Fi network, there’s a workaround you can use. You can export the network profile that was created automatically during the first connection, and then import it using netsh to connect to the wireless network.

Export Wi-Fi profile

To export a Wi-Fi profile on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to view the available network profiles and press Enter:

    netsh wlan show profile

  4. Type the following command to export a profile and press Enter:

    netsh wlan export profile PROFILE-NAME key=clear folder=PATHTOEXPORTFOLDER

    For example, this command exports the tsunami profile to the Documents folder.

    netsh wlan export profile tsunami key=clear folder=C:UsersmDocuments

Once you complete the steps, you can import the same XML file to connect other computers to the same network or reconnect your device if the profile is no longer available.

Import Wi-Fi profile

To import a Wi-Fi profile on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to determine the name of the network adapter and press Enter:

    netsh wlan show interfaces

  4. Confirm the name of the adapter that will connect to the network. (On Windows 10 with a single adapter, usually, the name is Wi-Fi.)
  5. Type the following command to import the network profile and press Enter:

    netsh wlan add profile filename="PATHTOPROFILE.XML" Interface="YOUR_WIFI_ADAPTER_NAME" user=current

    In the command, make sure to specify the path to the XML file and interface name.

    For example, this command imports the xml profile located in the Documents folder to the Wi-Fi adapter:

    netsh wlan add profile filename="C:UsersmDocumentswi-fi-tsunami.xml" Interface="WI-FI" user=current

  6. Type the following command to connect to the wireless network and press Enter:

    netsh wlan connect ssid=YOUR_WIFI_SSID name=PROFILE_NAME

    In the command, make sure to specify the SSID and profile name.

    For example, this command connects to an access point using the tsunami SSID and tsunami profile name:

    netsh wlan connect ssid=tsunami name=tsunami

    Quick Tip: If you have more than one wireless adapter, you must also specify in the command which adapter you want to use. For example, netsh wlan connect ssid=YOUR_WIFI_SSID name=PROFILE_NAME interface=Wi-Fi

After you complete the steps, the device should connect to the network automatically.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources: